Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

DA: Christopher Lee could face 2nd murder charge

Aug. 21, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Comments
Erin Corwin's body was found seven weeks after her husband, a Marine stationed at the base in Twentynine Palms, reported her missing. Christopher Brandon Lee, who lived near the Corwins on the base, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in her death.
Erin Corwin's body was found seven weeks after her husband, a Marine stationed at the base in Twentynine Palms, reported her missing. Christopher Brandon Lee, who lived near the Corwins on the base, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in her death. (The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun)
  • Filed Under

More

California law is very clear about the murder of an unborn child, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos told The Desert Sun on Wednesday.

In addition to a murder charge for the death of the mother, a murder charge can be filed for an unborn child of just four to six weeks development.

Whether Erin Corwin, whose body was found 140 feet down a mine shaft Saturday in the Rose of Peru Mining District east of Joshua Tree National Park, was pregnant and how pregnant is an ongoing "part of the investigation," Ramos said. The additional charge "is a possibility."

Corwin's body was found seven weeks after her husband, a Marine stationed at the base in nearby Twentynine Palms, reported her missing.

An autopsy determined the 19-year-old was the victim of homicide, but further results — such as if she was pregnant — are still pending, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Christopher Brandon Lee, who lived near the Corwins on the base, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in her death. Investigators say he and Corwin were having an affair and she could have been carrying his child.

In court documents released Tuesday, investigators said Lee admitted searching the Internet for the best way to dispose of a body and a witness said Lee asked him about the same subject.

Corwin announced on her Facebook page in January that she was pregnant, but her sister-in-law DeeAnna Heavilin said it ended in a miscarriage the next month. However, Corwin was pregnant again according to friends and family.

"We don't know exactly how far along she is with this pregnancy. She only found out about the pregnancy two weeks before she went missing and a doctor hasn't confirmed a due date yet," Heavilin told The Desert Sun in July.

The district attorney said that when he was a trial lawyer, he tried the case of Rodney Patrick McNeal, a San Bernardino probation officer who killed his pregnant wife.

"He was convicted of two counts of murder," Ramos said.

Scott Peterson currently sits on death row for murdering his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn son in Modesto in 2002.

A special circumstance allegation of "lying in wait" also was filed Tuesday against Lee.

"He concealed his purpose. The facts indicate they were going on a little trip in the desert," Ramos said about Lee. "He waited and watched for an opportunity to do this. And he did. He created that opportunity. It was a surprise attack on the person. He had a position of advantage on this person.

"We feel the facts will indicate that of course she was surprised at the time of the killing."

Lee told investigators on the morning Corwin disappeared that he was collecting tires. A tire was found at the mine shaft scene along with .22-caliber cartridge casings.

"Tires are a relevant way to dispose of a body," the district attorney said.

Lee, 24, made his first appearance in court in connection with the case Tuesday in Alaska. He is being held on $2 million bail and authorities await word on if he will waive or fight extradition to San Bernardino County.

His wife, Nichole Lee, was videotaped in the court audience by a local news station. She is considered a "person of interest" in the case, according to the sheriff's department. The district attorney said it is standard procedure to investigate if other people were involved in these types of cases.

Lee was arrested in a traffic stop at 10 p.m. Sunday in Alaska — 30 minutes after Corwin's body was identified by dental records.

With the help of the FBI and Alaska State Patrol, the sheriff's department "did an excellent job to keep an eye on him to make sure we knew where he was," Ramos said.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

Best in the Corps
Super Squad competitions are sweeping through the fleet

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook